Laughing or haveing fun a sin?

St. Basil the Great said that the Lord Jesus Christ never laughed. In the eulogy for his sister Macrina, St. Basil said that one of her greatest virtues was that she rarely ever smiled. St. Basil says more, “The Christian ought not to…indulge in jesting. He ought not to laugh nor even to suffer laugh makers.” St. Chrysostom said that the Lord nowhere laughed or even smiled, saying also that, “This world is not a theater in which we can laugh.”

The early Christians do tend to be much more ascetic than today. I remember reading Tatian the Assyrian and how he considers theatrical productions most unChristian. To tell you the truth, the contrast between the attitudes of charismatics and the early Church Fathers is one reason why I am a bit wary about the former.

I think that one reason why the early Church Fathers disliked smiling and laughing is because it may show that one enjoys being in this world. The Christian should, as they rightfully argue, focus his sights on the joys of the next world and not this world.

However, I do believe that, in trying to maintain holy, some of the early Church Fathers perhaps went a little too far in their prohibitions against laughter and smiling. Many of the Old Testament figures laugh, and even though in some cases they do so in a mockery of God, there are other times when they laugh in showing gratitude to God. For example, in Genesis 21.6 we read, “Sarah said, ‘God has brought me **laughter **[the name of her son, Isacc, means “laughter”], and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.’”

Also, Ecclesiastes 3.4: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…

Excessive laughter is, of course, detrimental to one’s Christian contemplation. But, as ecclesiastes says, there is a time to laugh, and this does not necessarily have to be strictly in Paradise.

As I recall one of the saints said: "A saint who doesn’t smile is a sad saint."

one answer to this (and other ascetical puzzlers) can be found in the biography of st francis of assisi by gk chesterton.

chesterton points out that the church in the early medieval period experienced a very deep cleansing in the form of the ascetic, desert living, fasting, anti-pleasure monks and nuns.

he points out that in rome, all of the pleasures had been indulged in with such abandon, in such excess, and attributed to so many pagan gods, that every pleasure became, at least in their minds (and culture) tainted by the associations they conveyed.

to combat this excess, and to purify the collective mind (the zeitgeist, if you will) of the church, they engaged in extreme fasts and abstinences. after a time, this began to balance back out to a healthy combination of pleasure and mortification.

you see the same thing happen in a young christian. they take their faith VERY seriously, and often burn their secular music or abstain from any books that aren’t spiritual and avoid movies and so forth, to purify themselves from the ‘worldly influence’.

then, with maturity, most of them learn that taking things in moderation and learning a healthy appreciation of pleasure and good books, music, and movies is completely consistent with our call to holiness and to following our Lord.

both are good - the ascetic and the appreciation of beauty and goodness. there is a time for everything - turn, turn, turn. :wink:

and g.k. chesterton himself laughed a lot:)

Ask this guy: lighthousetheatre.org/images/Laughing%20Jesus.jpg

The Bible has humor in it. The example I like to give is Genesis 2:22-23…

22 The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, 23 the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

You can see the joke if two terms are translated back into Hebrew…

22 The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, 23 the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘ishsha,’ for out of ‘ishah’ this one has been taken.”

If we translate the logic of the pun into English, and not the words, this is what it looks like…

22 The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, 23 the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘a herman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

[font=Verdana]Adam called Eve a “herman”!

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Jesus must have had a sense of humor when He said :

Matthew 7:3
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

St. Basil the Great said that the Lord Jesus Christ never laughed. In the eulogy for his sister Macrina, St. Basil said that one of her greatest virtues was that she rarely ever smiled. St. Basil says more, “The Christian ought not to…indulge in jesting. He ought not to laugh nor even to suffer laugh makers.” St. Chrysostom said that the Lord nowhere laughed or even smiled, saying also that, “This world is not a theater in which we can laugh.”
Perhaps they were experiencing the dark night of the soul.God Bless

Oddly enough the sermon at tonight’s services included quotes from Eugene O’Neil’s play “Lazarus Laughed” which portrays Lazarus as filled with a humor he received from Jesus :smiley:

Remember two things differentiate us from the animals
We have souls and we have a sense of humor

Coincidence? …I think not! :wink:

Now excuse me as I slip out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini

I’m reminded of a sermon preached by a crusty but lovable Franciscan priest, a fellow with a great sense of exasperated humor (imagine a cross between St. Jerome and Jack Benny), where he said Christ had to have had a sense of humor: “Look at the kind of guys He had for Apostles”.

And I remember Peter Kreeft writing somewhere, “Go to the zoo and look at an ostrich or a platypus and ask yourself if God is completely serious.”

Or St. Thomas More, about to have his head chopped off, moving aside the beard he grew in prison and making a joke to the executioner, “At least it didn’t commit ‘treason’…”

Or St. Francis playing “air violin” and singing to cheer up some gloomy-guses among his friars.

Or St. Ignatius Loyola, dancing a jig to cheer up St. Francis Xavier… and that must have been a really funny sight since St. Iggy walked with a pronounced limp…

It doesn’t make sense that Jesus never laughed. If he was fully human as well as divine, he must have laughed. Ever see a child who has not laughed? To have not laughed, he must have “turned off” that emotion, since that is what it is, a basic emotion. That is contradictory to what is taught as far as Jesus being fully human.

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